Is meditation the fountain of youth? The search for youth and vitality is certainly not new. While I’m sure the ancient Egyptians never walked into a health spa for a bird poop facial (yes I’m afraid it does exist) there is evidence that our ancestors were just as intrigued by the concept of eternal youth as we are today. For some of the early Chinese Emperors, the answer to this ancient mystery was considered to be drinking liquid gold. Results were mixed! Rather than prolonging life and enabling the rulers of China to adopt a jaunty skip in their step, they died of toxic poisoning. Not to be dissuaded from their early attempts, determined alchemists continued their experimentation and turned to mercury. It’s probably not the best idea mankind has ever come up with. [Source: FabOverFifty.com]
We have a fascination with staying young
Modern science has thankfully progressed and we now understand more about the human body. Our fascination with staying young, and more importantly, staying fit and healthy is still with us today. While most of the attention is placed upon diet and exercise, which is undoubtedly of great importance, there is an oft-overlooked area that controls our entire body and all of its complex functions: our minds.
How we think and react to everything around us is determined by those six inches between our ears. The stimuli of every day life and our responses to them, is all a reflection of how we perceive the world around us. Our respiratory rate, blood pressure, production of hormones and stress responses can all be influenced by our state of mind. Meditation it would seem, could hold the key. Long-term meditators have been found to have a biological age 5-15 years lower than their actual chronological age. Cardiovascular health is substantially improved, skin tone and elasticity make us look years younger and our overall physical condition is greatly enhanced. But why is this? How does meditation help us stay younger?
How does meditation help us stay younger?
Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, the founding president and medical director of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation has some answers.
“Meditation lowers blood pressure and other markers of aging including MVO2 or oxygen demand. It enhances psychological well-being, perhaps the most significant determinate of telomere length (telemores are the end cap of our DNA), which is a very important marker of aging and longevity: longer telomeres = less illness and longer life.”
Meditation 1 – Mercury 0
His research into Alzheimer’s is also intriguing.
“Our research reveals that meditation lowers the stress chemical in the blood called cortisol. Cortisol kills brain cells and leads to cognitive decline. A simple 12 minute daily meditation enhances brain blood flow in critical areas of the brain and reverses memory loss.”
Learning to manage the stress that we all come under from time to time, whether it’s from work or our relationships, can physically slow down the ageing process in our bodies. Creating a harmonious nervous system will ensure that the cells within our mind and body get the healthy nutrients they need, our cellular repair functions are operating at their regenerating best, and are hormones are nicely balanced. Additionally, issues with our skin, sleep, energy levels, migraines, memory, concentration, and any issues with migraines, anxiety or depression can all be addressed if we simply provide the optimal environment for our cells and organs to function in. The only side effect is a sense of wellbeing, calm and clarity that will pervade all aspects of your every day life.
12 Years Younger in 12 minutes
We’ve all heard the saying “health body – healthy mind”, maybe the reverse holds some merit. When we spend so much money on cosmetics and anti-aging creams, it would seem that the simplest and most effective solution, only costs us a small amount of our time every day. If the large advertising agencies of the world launched a new face cream made from the droppings of the cave dwelling Guatemalan Bat, complete with the slogan “12 years younger in 12 minutes”, we would all be running to the nearest Central American retail store to grab a bottle. That’s the beauty of meditation. There’s no gimmick, it’s free to do, and the effects on our body, mind and overall health can be very profound indeed. Plus it’s much better for you than drinking the contents of your thermometer.
About the Author: Will Williams is the founder of Will Williams Meditation and provides classes and courses for Meditation in London, Brighton and Geneva. Follow him on Twitter.